It becomes increasingly more important to protect our cognitive health as we age. Physical exercise, mentally stimulating activities, and social interaction are great ways to keep your brain working at its fullest potential.
But what about food? Can the foods that you eat change your brain?
Food doesn’t just affect you physically, but it can also affect your cognitive abilities. There are multiple types of foods that can help promote healthy brain functions for seniors.
Cognitive Brain Foods for Seniors
Here are 11 foods that help promote healthy brain functions for seniors.
Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain health. It’s also high in protein and vitamin D, which can help boost immunity. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week, especially fatty fish like salmon. Salmon contains the two omega-3 fatty acids — docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) — that have been shown to benefit brain health.
2: Leafy Greens
Spinach, lettuce, kale, and arugula are leafy greens high in B-vitamins, which are great for natural energy boosts. They’re also high in antioxidants that fight off free radicals and protect our brains from damage caused by stress and aging. These vegetables also contain folate, which helps prevent cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Coffee is a natural source of energy and can help improve concentration and focus, and it can also be beneficial for liver function and your heart. Studies have shown that drinking coffee can lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
4: Dark Berries
Blueberries, blackberries, and more are packed with antioxidants that have been found to protect against degenerative cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Some of the most antioxidant-rich foods in the world, dark berries provide a sweet taste without artificial sugar – perfect for a healthy dessert! They’re also rich in vitamins and minerals, making them a great additive to cereals, smoothies, or enjoyed on their own.
Eggs are some of the most nutrient-rich sources of protein and among the best brain foods for seniors. They’re also easy to cook or add to recipes, and they’re a great way to start your day. Eggs contain 18 different vitamins, minerals, and proteins that are easy to digest. They’re a great source of high-quality protein that’s low in fat and virtually zero carbohydrates.
Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are excellent sources of many nutrients that can help keep your brain healthy as you age. They are rich in heart-healthy fats, protein, and usually little to no carbohydrates.
Walnuts, in particular, have been shown to help lower blood pressure and improve blood sugar levels. You can mix nuts into other recipes such as salads, bread, or cereals, and they’re a perfect plant-based source of omega-3s if you cannot or do like to eat fish.
Avocados are a rich source of healthy monounsaturated fat and can help support healthy blood flow. They also contain antioxidants called carotenoids, which protect your brain from oxidative damage. These benefits may help protect against cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease by slowing down the build-up of plaques in the brain.
8: Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is excellent for seniors because it’s rich in probiotics, which are good bacteria that help balance out the harmful bacteria in the gut. These friendly bacteria can help reduce inflammation and protect against heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It also has a high protein content, so it helps keep you full longer.
Greek yogurt is also packed with healthy fats and proteins. You can add other ingredients like nuts, berries, or other fruits above your Greek yogurt for added flavor. You can also buy sweetened or unsweetened for carbohydrate control.
9: Cruciferous Veggies
Cruciferous veggies include vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
They are rich in fiber and vitamins and are a good source of antioxidants that protect against free radical damage in the brain. These vegetables are easy to prepare and flavor, making them a great addition to any meal.
10: Colorful Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are great brain foods, especially when fresh and colorful. The pigments that give fruits and veggies bright hues may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Sweet and vitamin-rich, colorful fruits and veggies are perfect for a snack on any day.
11: Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate provides a natural source of caffeine and has been shown to improve memory function and increase blood flow to the brain. Rich in fiber, it also contains antioxidants called flavonoids that boost cognition and protect against age-related decline. It can be eaten by itself or mixed in with meal and dessert recipes.
Live Where Your Brain Can Thrive
Seniors need all the brain food they can get, including delicious and nutritious meals to ensure their cognitive health. Shaker Place in Albany, NY, is a unique skilled nursing facility offering the very highest level of care.
We encourage our residents to take a proactive role in their health and memory care. We have many programs and services available that aid our residents in this goal, including eight country kitchens and multiple other dining options.
Our doctors oversee individual meal plans based on specific dietary needs. We also offer cognitive health and memory care services and comfortable, premium living accommodations.
Including nutrition and beyond, we strive to provide our residents with the best and most complete care possible. We invite you to schedule a tour to see the facilities yourself. If you like the information provided in this article and want to learn more, please contact us online or schedule a tour today. We would be happy to welcome you and answer any questions you may have about our services.